Ford could replace Eastmond

Date published: November 11 2014

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George Ford could be in line for a first Test start with Kyle Eastmond struggling with a stomach bug ahead of South Africa.

George Ford could be in line for a first Test start with Kyle Eastmond struggling with a stomach bug ahead of a clash with South Africa..

Ford came on for Eastmond during Saturday’s defeat to the All Blacks, with Owen Farrell shifting across to inside centre, and that could be how England line up against the Boks if Stuart Lancaster feels Eastmond is not ready.

The Bath centre has been laid low since the weekend with the problem, and even though he will likely be over the bug, there will be a question mark over how much energy it will take out of him.

If Eastmond isn’t ready to go, Ford will likely face competition from Billy Twelvetrees, who could slot straight in at 12 in place of Eastmond.

“I’m sure he’ll (Eastmond) get over the sickness and diarrhoea but it’s about how much it takes out of him and the knock-on effect of not doing the work,” Lancaster said.

“The obvious options are to put George in at 10 and Owen at 12, or bring someone like Billy Twelvetrees in at 12.

“We have to be careful not to make too many changes going into this weekend. We have to give the players a second chance but, having said that, one of the reasons we brought George Ford and Ben Youngs on [against the All Blacks] was to improve our ability to exit our own half.

“Some of our kicking from nine, particularly, and also 10 wasn’t quite good enough.

“The combination [of Ford and Farrell] is something we have looked at, did look at, and will look at in the future, without a doubt.”

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